Stadium ready for first bounce

Kardinia Park Stadium Trust CEO Gerard Griffin, Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman, Member for Lara Ella George, Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Corrina Eccles, Premier Jacinta Allan, Member for Geelong Christine Couzens, Geelong Cats' Joel Selwood, Member for Bellarine Alison Marchant and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos. (Jena Carr) 394827_02

Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium is ready for the first bounce on Saturday night with the new Joel Selwood Stand completed.

The state government’s $142 million stadium stage five redevelopment delivered the venue’s largest-ever stand, with Premier Jacinta Allan announcing the milestone on Tuesday, March 12.

Ms Allan said she was proud to celebrate the “regional sporting and cultural facility” ahead of the 7.30pm Geelong vs St Kilda game on March 16.

“World-class sporting venues shouldn’t be confined to capital cities, and this upgrade brings more Victorians closer to the action, closer to home,” she said.

“We understand not just its symbolic importance in the heart of everyone who lives here in Geelong but also too it as a place that supports many people to come and work here.”

Geelong Cats legend Joel Selwood said he was “blown away” to have the stand named after him, which would help boost venue capacity to 40,000.

“The only bit that needs to be finished on it is it needs to be full and I’m just so glad that we’ve built it so that people can come in and enjoy it like I have over the journey,” he said.

“I love the place and I’m grateful that we have governments that are willing to take a punt on a town like this too, because I know that it means much more than just the footy.”

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said the upgrade would help bring people “closer to the action, closer to home” and included room for 2300 standing patrons.

“Not only do we showcase the best of the world right here in Geelong, but we also showcase the best of Geelong to the world by having this facility,” he said.

“It’s a big sense of community, purpose and pride to have this Kardinia Park finished effectively after a 20-year journey and we’re really proud to support Geelong.”

Stage five of the development also included a new Fred Flanagan Function Room, media centre, Arglye Bar, and AFL-standard unisex change rooms.

A Geelong Sports Museum, and Barwon Regional Cricket Centre and indoor cricket hub will soon be completed through redevelopment.